3rd November 2017
Fancy giving knitting a go or are you looking to add a special touch to your Christmas gifts this year with your own homemade knits? Our dear friend Lauren, from Lauren Aston Designs, shares her hints and tips about her wonderful world of giant knitting and shows us how to knit for us beginners…
I spend my days in my Devon home studio, using beautiful merino wool to create giant statement knit accessories and homewares. I moved to Devon 5 years ago for my husband’s job and absolutely love it here. We have a cockapoo called Harry who keeps me entertained and helps get me out the house. I also love dungarees, Harry Potter, tea & biscuits, staying in and colour coding things.
I have been knitting since the age of 11, having been taught by my wonderful Grandmother. It took a good few years and a degree in knitwear to truly cement my passion, but now I adore it! I love the tactility of making something so big and cosy, and always wanted to hand knit but knew I needed to do it quite quickly, so the biggest yarn I could find seemed a great solution to that.
Because it is quick, easy and fun! You can knock up a statement piece in no time, however I do hand process each item to help bond the fibres of the beautiful merino wool – so even though this element is time consuming, it is vital for the quality of the product and helps increase the lifespan.
If you are new to knitting I’d start small to get used to it, and then once you are more confident you can progress bigger. I would recommend starting with a slightly smaller yarn, and 12/15mm needles. This way you can see what you are doing and it still grows quickly.
You can then progress onto the larger yarn once you are more experienced – the giant yarn isn’t cheap and you won’t want to waste it! I started selling giant knit kits last year, which come with the needles, yarn and instructions, so once you’ve got the hang of knitting, and you’re ready to start giant knitting you’ll have everything you need.
Probably my giant blankets – you can really see the results quickly and they make a huge impact in a room. I love the variety of sizes, colours and stitches that my customers choose, each one has its own personality and I really love to see the blankets in situ.
Lets get back to basics with giant knitting. If you’re a beginner or need a refresher lesson in the world of knitting, here’s Lauren’s how to guide for the basic go-to techniques to get you started.
Step 1 – Start by making a slip knot – twist the wool around itself with the longest tail underneath & use your left hand to go inside the loop and grab the yarn (attached to the ball not the smallest tail).
Step 2 – Pull the yarn through the loop and tighten it to create your slip knot.
Step 3 – Place your knot onto the left hand needle – this is your first stitch.
Step 4 – Place your right hand needle through the loop from bottom to top so that the right hand needle sits behind the left.
Step 5 – Wrap your yarn (attached to the ball of wool not your small tail) anti-clockwise around the head of your right needle.
Step 6 – Keeping the yarn on the right hand needle you want to bring that needle in front of the left one. To do this hold the yarn in place (without pulling it too hard) and duck the point of the right hand needle through the small hole created on the left hand side.
Step 7 – Keeping the yarn loose, pull your right hand needle towards you so that the loop you’ve created gets bigger
Step 8 – then place that larger loop over the left hand needle so that the right needle is again at the back.
Step 9 – Remove your right hand needle by pulling it towards you and out of the loop of yarn, you may need to tighten it up a little so it isn’t too baggy but don’t pull it too tight, the trick to big knitting is keeping your tension nice and loose.
repeat from step 4 until you have the desired number of stitches.
Once you’ve cast on the correct amount of stitches you can start knitting. This is much easier now you know how to cast on as it’s the same method until the end where, instead of adding your stitches to the same needle you’re just moving them onto the other needle.
Step 1 – Insert your right hand needle into the first stitch (with the needle going bottom to top, right needle at the back) and loop your yarn around anti-clockwise.
Step 2 – Pull the yarn under so that the right hand needle is on top of the left hand needle.
Step 3 – Now instead of making it larger and hooking it over the left hand needle as you did when casting on, you just need to transfer it onto the right hand needle, so simply slide it up the left hand needle until the loop on that needle drops off and you’re just left with a stitch on the right hand needle.
It’s as simple as that, now just repeat that on each stitch until you finish the row, all your stitches will then be on the right hand needle so just swap them around so your left hand is holding the needle with the work on and start again.
Once you’ve knit as much as you fancy it’s time to cast off and bind your stitches together so they don’t unravel. There’s a number of ways to cast off but I like to keep it simple.
Step 1 -Knit 2 stitches onto your right hand needle.
Step 2 – With your left hand needle pick up the first stitch on your right needle (closest to your right hand).
Step 3 – Slip the first stitch over the second and off the right hand needle so it loops underneath the remaining stitch.
Step 4 – Then knit another stitch so you again have 2 stitches on the right hand needle and repeat the picking up of the first stitch and lifting it over the second.
Step 5 – when you have 1 stitch left on your right hand needle and nothing on your left, pull it to loosen the stitch a little and make it bigger for ease and remove your right needle.
Step 6 – Cut your yarn and thread the end through the centre of your last stitch to knot it.
Voila! All finished, you can now cast on, off and knit.